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Kazimierz Part 2

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On a small square in Szeroka Street in the heart of Kazimierz and near the Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery is a 'Place of meditation upon the martyrdom of 65,000 Polish citizens of Jewish nationality from Krakow and its environs, killed by the Nazis during World War II'

The memorial shown here is indeed for that large Jewish population of Krakow who perished during the holocaust. The above text upon the attached metal plate is written in Polish, English and Yiddish.




The Remuh Cemetery (also known as the Old Jewish Cemetery) is the now inactive Jewish cemetery established in 1535.

It is located beside the 16th-century Remuh Synagogue. In 1800, the cemetery was closed and the nearby New Jewish Cemetery was built.

During the German occupation of Poland the Nazis destroyed the cemetery, tearing down the walls and removing tombstones to be used as paving stones in the camps or selling them.

The tombstone of the Remah (Rabbi Moses Isserles) is shown below and is one of the few that remain intact.

The cemetery has undergone a series of post-war restorations. All tombstones unearthed as paving stones have been returned and re-erected although they represent a small fraction of the monuments that once stood in the cemetery.



Some memorial tablets have been placed on the courtyard wall next to the Remuh Synagogue (above).
They carry inscriptions in memory of the Jews of Krakow who perished in the Holocaust.

The cemetery also contains the gravesites of many notable Polish Jews including:

Rabbi Moses Isserles (1520-1572), buried along with his family (see below)

Mordechaj Saba (called Singer), head of the Krakow Talmudic Academy from 1572 to 1576

Joseph Kac, head of the Academy from 1576 to 1591

Gershon Saul Jom Tow Lipmann Heller (1579-1654), rabbi of the Jewish communities in Vienna and Prague,
         and in Krakow from 1643 to 1654

Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, (1578-1654), a Bohemian rabbi and Talmudist, best known for writing a
         commentary on the Mishnah called the Tosafot Yom-Tov

Yossele the Holy Miser, central figure in a well-known tale of Jewish folklore.





"As opposed to the common practice of burying loved ones with flowers and placing flowers by the tombstone, Jewish tradition instead puts an emphasis on placing stones on graves.

"The origin of the stone custom is uncertain, though it may relate to ancient times when a pile of stones was used as a marker. The most common explanation is that placing stones is a symbolic act that indicates someone has come to visit and that the deceased has not been forgotten.

"A superstitious rationale for stones is that they keep the soul down (i.e. in the grave - Ed) , based on a belief that souls continue to dwell for a while in the graves in which they are placed.

"A more common theme is that stones last for eternity, as opposed to the short life span of flowers. Like the memory our loved ones, stones will never die."

(Condensed and edited from, and with acknowledgement to, 'The Jewish Virtual Library')


Moses Isserles (also spelt Moshe Isserlis) lived from 22 February 1520 until 11 May 1572 and was an eminent Ashkenazic rabbi, talmudist, and posek.

He was renowned for his fundamental work concerning Halakha (Jewish law) and entitled ha-Mapah (lit. 'the tablecloth'), also a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (lit. 'the set table') upon which his 'great reputation as a halakist and codifier chiefly rests.'

He is also well known for his Darkhei Moshe commentary on the Tur.

Isserles is also referred to as the Rema, (or Remo, Ramu, Rama) - the Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Moses Isserles.

He was one of the greatest Jewish scholars of Poland, and was the primary halakhic authority for European Jewry of his day.

He died in Kraków and was buried next to his synagogue. On his tombstone is inscribed: 'From Moses (Maimonides) to Moses (Isserles) there was none like Moses'.

Until the Second World War thousands of pilgrims visited his grave annually on Lag Ba'omer, his Yahrzeit (date of death).

















Most of the cemetery was badly damaged by the Nazis and countless tombs were destroyed.

Many of the tomb fragments have been collected and arranged to form a wall in the cemetery which has become known as the local 'Wailing Wall' or 'Lamentation Wall'.

A section and small areas of the wall are shown in the pictures (right and below).





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